Producing renewable fuels and milk from corn and cows

XL Dairy Group is moving beyond milk into the biofuel business with a new facility they are building in Vicksburg, Arizona. The $260-million biorefinery will produce milk, ethanol and biodiesel. The plant will be making use of all the intermediate products to optimize the overall efficiency of all the processes. Incoming corn will be fractionated into corn starch, bran, and germ which will be used to generate ethanol, electricity, and biodiesel.

Thin sillage from the ethanol process, glycerol from the biodiesel and manure from the cows will all be fed back into the energy island for electricity production. The electricity will be used in the fuel production as well as dairy production. Distillers grain and germ cakes from the fuel processes will feed the cows and waste from the power plant will be composted. Overall they anticipate an energy efficiency efficiency ratio of 10:1 for the ethanol compared to 1.2:1 for a conventional dry mill corn ethanol process and cost savings of up to $0.35 a gallon for ethanol.

When the plant goes into production in fall 2008 it should be turning 576,000 tons of corn annually into 54 million gallons of ethanol, 5 million gallons of biodiesel, an 110,000 tons of animal feed. The facility will also capture carbon dioxide to recycle into dry ice, cooling and beverage carbonation. The only thing they don't seem to have a plan for is capturing the methane from the cows for extra electric generation. XL Dairy is also working a proprietary algae biodiesel process which could also be used to consume CO2 from the other processes as well as expand fuel and feed production.

[Source: XL Dairy Group via GreenCarCongress]

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